Party promoters say they are now back at square one following the new curfew order imposed by the prime minister on the weekend.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that based on the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Government would roll back the 11 p.m. curfew time to 7 p.m. for Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, and Clarendon. The measure started on Saturday and will end on September 2.
This is the second blow that entertainment industry players have been dealt in less than two weeks. Previously, promoters whose events would usually be staged from Monday to Wednesdays had to make other plans as ‘party days’ had been limited to Thursday through Sunday.
Popular event promoter Askel told THE STAR that with some promoters only just beginning to recuperate from months on lockdown, the 7 p.m. curfew is a hard pill to swallow.
“This rough. Mi nah lie. I was in the process of planning my next party, and now, I don’t think I can even continue those plans. Eleven p.m. did a give we some problems. It did steep, but it did bad and nuh so bad. But it was better than nothing, so we did a make it work. But this new 7 p.m. time, it rough,” he said. “We invest money and time in our product and brand, and at every turn, something else come our way. Is like we can’t catch a break in the entertainment business at all. This unfair, enuh.”
Andrew Ellis, organiser of the popular beach party Sandz Ja, said he has not seen many benefits for entertainment over the past few months.
“I can say I understand the volatility with the crowds an event draws, but just as they have put considerable effort to regulate how other industries operate during this period, more can be done for the entertainment industry,” he said. “The new curfew times completely shut us down. I have a number of operations that have been affected. We had an event scheduled for today (yesterday) – Oasis – that we have made a decision to postpone given the new curfew times.”
Ellis, who also hosts the weekly events Pepperseed Wednesdays and MVP Fridays, both on Trafalgar Road, St Andrew, said the majority of the patronage are from the working class.
“So doing anything entertainment related before 7 p.m. is out of the question. Also, since the start of COVID, we have been making our best efforts to keep our restaurant at Route 38 Bar and Grill and the associated weekly events, Pepperseed and MVP, open. It has already been difficult with persons coming out late, but now it is virtually impossible to operate, and we are left with tremendous overheads,” he said. Popular selector Boom Boom, the resident selector at Boom Sundays in Grants Pen, St Andrew, said his event has been discontinued until further notice. “Seven o’ clock thing can’t work, and it will never work because people can’t party inna sun. Da thing yah weh dem announce really just drop like a time bomb. No time fi adjust or nothing. A whole heap a people right now in a round robin or have dem likkle events weh can’t keep it right now, and dat hot,” he said. “Mi affi just wait and hol’ it, but this a go affect we big time. Dem say the second a September curfew time a go lift, and mi just wah dem know say when me go outside, mi nah go back inside, enuh. God up a Heaven know.”